As an individual or small business owner, receiving mail from others is expected. The US Postal Service (USPS) will often send these packages to a designated box at a USPS post office (PO Box) near you, where you can pick them up.
So, why not just use a PO Box address to receive all your mail? Sometimes, your business may receive more mail than a regular box from USPS can handle. So, you’ll need to be on your toes to ensure your mail doesn’t overfill or risk having the excess set aside by USPS.
Furthermore, you may require more than just a box with a key. Perhaps you need something you can use as a physical business address for your company.
Unfortunately, using a PO Box as your business address is ill-advised as it’s not considered professional.
Additionally, you won’t be able to receive mail sent by a carrier other than USPS. You would need at least two mailbox addresses to receive mail from other carriers, such as FedEx, 10 Roads Express, UPS, etc.
UPS mailbox services typically cater to all of these… And more
So, what exactly is the UPS mailbox, and how does it work?
What is a UPS mailbox?
A UPS mailbox is a mailing address with a real street address where you can receive mail from virtually every US carrier, including USPS and FedEx.
A UPS store mailbox can be used as a business address as an actual street address. This is especially beneficial for online stores that may need to receive returned items at a particular address.
In addition, individuals who do not want to give out their home addresses for security reasons when shopping online will also find a UPS mailbox extremely useful.
Notwithstanding, a UPS store mailbox has many similarities with a post office address. When you sign up for a UPS store, you’ll still have a box space where your packages are received. However, it offers much more than you’ll ever get from a PO Box.
Notably, you’d have 24/7 hour access to your UPS mailbox. Additionally, you’ll get a cabinet-sized box space designed for high-volume businesses and individuals who receive more mail than the USPS mailbox can take. The space, however, will depend on the mailbox option you subscribe to.
Furthermore, you’re not just acquiring a PO Box number but a physical street address, usable by individuals and small businesses looking for privacy away from their home address.
How does a UPS mailbox work?
A UPS store mailbox is just like the lockers at a post office: easy to use, with the convenience of opening the lock and picking up your mail and packages at a time that works best for you.
UPS stores will always send you text notifications whenever a package arrives so you can check them as soon as possible. In addition, the stores offer 24-hour access, unlike a PO Box that only runs during business hours, making you miss some time-sensitive packages.
Interestingly, your address from the UPS store can be used as a business address or a personal mailbox, depending on your needs.
There’ll always be someone to sign your mails when they arrive. This eliminates the problem of missing returned items or packages that have to go out later than supposed because you could not sign them.
How to get a UPS mailbox?
Firstly, you need to find the UPS store nearest to you. That’s because you’d have to pick up your received mail at the UPS store, so easy accessibility becomes desirable.
Ask what mailbox sizes the store has available to determine if any meet your needs and budget. Kindly note that not all UPS stores have all the mailbox sizes. You can make all of these confirmations online before going to the store to make the arrangements.
Is a UPS mailbox a legal address?
Yes. A UPS Store provides a physical street address, not a PO Box number; you can use it as your legal and business address. However, when incorporating your business as an LLC or Corp, you must have a Registered Agent to accept legal documents on your behalf. So, if you’re going to live in the same city as your business, it would be easy to use the UPS address as your legal address.
Can I use a UPS mailbox as a business address?
You can use a UPS mailbox as your personal address; however, when incorporating your business as an LLC or Corp, it’s not preferred to use either a USPS PO Box or UPS mailbox as the physical address in the Articles of Incorporation as there are many State agencies and organizations may not accept it.
How much is a PO Box at UPS?
So, how much does it cost to get a UPS mailbox address? Unfortunately, it’s hard to say precisely how much a UPS mailbox costs because there’s no fixed price. Instead, UPS stores will typically vary the cost depending on several factors: the box size.
Three standard sizes of mailboxes are available in most UPS stores: small, medium, and large.
The small, medium, and large sizes are similar to the 1, 2, and 3 PO Box sizes but three times bigger. So, you get more storage space when using a UPS mailbox. However, this usually comes at over three times the cost of a PO Box.
Small UPS boxes cost between $10 and $30 per month; medium-sized boxes cost between $20 and $40 per month, while large-size boxes cost between $30 and $50 per month.
A Small box is best for Individuals who do not expect to receive many mails simultaneously. Medium-sized UPS mailboxes are suitable for small businesses and home-based startups that receive a decent mail flow. They can later upscale to a large size as the inflow peaks.
On the other hand, the large box will typically work well for online stores and other small to medium businesses having a lot of mail and packages to contend with regularly.
In addition, some UPS stores allow you to request a custom mailbox according to your needs. If the small, medium, or large size doesn’t work for you, consider speaking with the personnel at the store closest to you to know if you can obtain a custom private mailbox.
The geographical location of the UPS store in question and demand will also contribute to the mailbox cost. For instance, a local UPS store in New York offering an NYC street business address will likely cost more than one in a more rural environment.
However, finding out the cost doesn’t have to be complicated. First, figure out what size would work for you, find and contact the local UPS store closest to you, and ask for a quote for the size you need.
Also, remember to ask them about all the services provided and how to make the most of whatever private mailbox space you’re renting.
Some other added charges also factor into the final cost, such as the initial deposits (most stores charge around $10 before you can have the key).
Some stores will also charge you around $3 if you consistently allow your mail to pile into spillovers before you attend to them or when you end up not claiming them.
Late fee payment also attracts a penalty. So ensure you don’t allow these things to happen, and you’ll avoid any additional costs.
You can save a few bucks by subscribing to a UPS mailbox for three, six, or 12 months.
Benefits of UPS mailbox
Most of the benefits of UPS mailbox addresses have been mentioned, but we’ll highlight them and a few more in this section.
One of the most notable benefits of the UPS mailbox is the amount of privacy it offers, keeping your home address away from public knowledge. This helps, especially when you’re shopping online. However, giving away your home address to every John Doe online can be risky.
UPS stores accept mail from all carriers. That means you’ll be able to receive packages from businesses that do not support PO Box addresses without giving out your home address.
#3) Mail forwarding
A UPS store offers mail forwarding for an additional charge, a service you can’t find at any post office. This service comes in handy when you’re far from the location (possibly on a trip) and need the package shipped to you.
#4) Your business address remains constant.
Even when you move your office to another location, you may not need to change your business address since you already use a UPS private mailbox. No matter how often your home or office location changes, a UPS box address remains with you.
#5) 24-hour access
The accessibility with the UPS mailboxes isn’t obtainable from the PO Box. With 24-hour access, you can visit your local UPS store at night and even on weekends to pick up your mail without the hassle of scheduling special off-business-hour visitations (as it is with PO Box addresses).
Most UPS mailbox services offer 24/7 accessibility. Some stores will charge you a one-time cost for this service. You will receive a key to access the locker room whenever convenient for you.
#6) Package handling
If you receive a package too big to fit into your box, a post office will not keep it behind the counter unless shipped by USPS. They will also not sign deliveries that require your signature.
This is a hassle many people experience with PO Boxes. Conversely, UPS stores will help you keep oversized packages from any carrier and sign deliveries on your behalf, so you never miss a thing.
#7) A UPS mailbox offers a professional image.
A UPS store private mailbox offers more of a professional image than a USPS PO Box. Although you can use the latter for your home-based business, customers regard you as more professional when you have a recognized physical address on your website.
However, the UPS mailbox has some downsides, like most other things. We’ve highlighted them below.
Disadvantages of UPS mailbox
- Although you can use a UPS mailbox as a business address, it doesn’t always work because state agencies and organizations may not accept it. UPS best serves as a private mailbox. Again, this doesn’t mean it won’t work as a business address, especially for home-based and small businesses.
- Every UPS store is owned by private organizations instead of the federal government-run post offices. So, you shouldn’t switch to these mailboxes if you’re uncomfortable with a private entity handling all of your mailboxes.
- When you move or travel out of town, your physical UPS box address won’t be handy anymore unless you subscribe to mail forwarding, which attracts some added cost and unnecessary inconvenience. Changing your UPS business address is best if you’ll be gone for a long time. The process involves changing many things, including data on your banking credit cards and bills, which can be painful.
- Unless you find a UPS store that offers mail forwarding, you’d need to always walk into the place to pick up your mail. If not, they may pile up and attract a surcharge. This becomes an issue when you travel out of town for a while.
- You’ll find a UPS mailbox in a post office; it’s physical and doesn’t offer the online services you get from a virtual mailbox, like forwarding or Recycling.
- UPS mailboxes cost far more than a USPS PO Box. Therefore, subscribing to the former would not make sense if you wouldn’t particularly need its services. On the other hand, if you want an address to receive your USPS mail, it’s better to stick with a PO Box.
Differences between UPS store mailbox services and USPS PO Box address
While a Post Office box gives you a number, the UPS store mailbox offers you a physical street address.
UPS store mailbox sometimes comes with added services such as mail forwarding, and there will always be a team ready to offer you professional help. It’s not so with USPS PO Box as there are no additional services.
A Post Office Box may not alert you when certain packages arrive, especially when they do so during off-business hours. A UPS store will also notify you via text messages, regardless of time or day of the week.
A USPS PO Box is only available during business hours. However, the UPS Store mailbox services are available round-the-clock and offer users 24/7 access.
Switching from a PO Box to a UPS Store
If you’ve already started using a USPS PO Box before realizing your mistake, you can get a refund (although not the entire amount) from USPS.
Below is the USPS PO Box return policy:
Once you have begun using your PO Box, you may request a refund at the Post Office where your box is located. Fees are refunded as follows:
3-Month Payments (automatic renewal required):
- No refunds
- Within the first three months — ½ the fee is paid.
- After three months — no refunds
- Within the first three months — ¾ the fee paid
- Within the first six months — ½ the fee is paid.
- Within the first nine months — ¼ the fee paid
- After nine months, — no refunds.
Why should you consider getting a business address?
One of the factors influencing success is building trust in your target customers. To build trust, your small business has to appear professional and trustworthy; they need to see your business as official.
When you run a home-based business, that becomes a challenge. Users may get excited when browsing your website but may get put off when they see your home address instead of a business location. As a result, their regard for your business may come crashing.
A business address presents that professional image in the eyes of your potential clients. Even when you work from the comfort of your bedroom, a user believes you have an official space as a professional when they behold your business address in a real street they recognize.
It applies to your website, business cards, and official documents.
Even though you don’t plan to publish it on your website or business card, a business address serves other critical purposes:
- As a return address – your buyers need to have a mailing address they can ship returned products to.
- Online marketing tools – MailChimp and many other online marketing tools you may leverage require a mailing address.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – as a small business, you would want to boost your local SEO using Google My Business, which requires a mailing address.
- For organization – there’s a sense of organization when you keep your business mail separate from your personal mail.
You can use a USPS PO Box or UPS mailbox as your business address. However, the latter is preferred if you need its additional benefits.
What do you need to get a UPS mailbox?
Getting a UPS mailbox requires visiting the UPS store with two valid IDs (one must be a photo ID) and signing an agreement. Ensure you read the document carefully to understand all the terms and policies.
After payment, you’ll be given an address and a key to the box, just like with a post office. So you can get a UPS mailbox whether you’re a business owner or not.
A better alternative to UPS mailbox services
You may have seen one or two reasons you should ditch your current USPS PO Box for a UPS mailbox. But, simultaneously, you may have encountered a few drawbacks that deter you from moving forward.
If you like the advantages of UPS mailboxes but are concerned about the drawbacks, a virtual mailbox is a better alternative to cover those weaknesses.
Although Virtual mailbox solutions offer you a real street address, they don’t operate physically. You don’t need to walk in to pick up your mail.
Get updated on your mobile device about every package arrival, have them scanned so you know the content, and then shredded, stored, or forwarded to you as you desire—all of these you handle with a few taps on your smartphone. So you’re always in control.
So, no matter your location, with a virtual mailbox, you always have an address where your mail will arrive. Whether you’re spending a vacation on a beach far away, on a flight, or at home, you choose whether to have the mail forwarded to you by the company or not.
Additionally, virtual addresses are generally accepted when incorporating your business. This gives you the privacy, security, and professional image associated with UPS mailbox services and lots more.
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